Chicago’s history, culture, and infamous bitter liquor are at the center of the Chicago Handshake Drinking Card Game, which uses trivia questions and challenges to pit locals against one another to prove who knows the most about the Windy City.
Players draw from a deck of stylized cards that touch on a range of topics, from music to food to pop culture. Those that draw the “Super Fan” card, for example, must show off their best imitation of Bill Swerski; yank the “Deep Dish Discussion” card to plunge the table into a passionate debate over hefty Chicago-style pizzas. Those who answer wrong or fail a challenge accumulate “tokens.” The person with the most tokens by the game’s end is the “loser” (or winner, as Block Club points out), and must partake in the game’s eponymous Chicago Handshake — a local tradition that involves a shot of Jeppson’s Malört and an Old Style tallboy beer.
The game, designed for 2-12 adult participants, is the latest release from local retailer Transit Tees in collaboration with Malört maker CH Distilleries. It’s now available for presale online ($22) and at Transit Tees’s stores in Wicker Park (1371 N. Milwaukee Avenue) and Andersonville (5226 N. Clark Street). There’s also a launch party slated for November 8 at CH Distilleries in Pilsen, with reservations and more details available via Tock.
A food critic apologizes
Even the most trusted food authorities don’t know everything. The Tribune’s Nick Kindelsperger published a lengthy mea culpa yesterday, admitting that he had been absolutely wrong in his pre-judgment of Esmé, a new tasting menu restaurant in Lincoln Park. He had been offended by the refusal of chef-owner Jenner Tomaska and his business partner (and wife) Katrina Bravo to discuss the food. But after a few meals there, Kindelsperger understands the error of his ways. “Tomaska and Bravo just wanted to let the food do the talking,” he writes. And now he heartily recommends Esmé, both for the food and the atmosphere — at least for those who can afford the $185-per-person price tag.
The best new hotspot for Asian food is... Aurora?
Pacifica Square, one of the largest Asian-American shopping centers in the country, is fully open for business in Aurora, previously best known as the hometown of Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World. Monica Eng of Axios took a field trip to the western burbs and reports that the former Yorkshire Plaza mall has been transformed into an Asian food paradise: the anchor store is now Park to Shop, a huge grocery; the food court now contains 10 Asian food stalls; and the outlying restaurants in the parking lot are now outposts of city restaurants, including Lao Sze Chuan and Hyderabad House. Eng concludes it’s a convenient shopping destination for Asians in the western suburbs and “a great day trip for Chicagoans who dig Asian food.”
Support for Black-owned restaurants
A dozen Black-owned Chicago-area restaurants are among the 71 businesses who have received a total of $1,111,000 in grant money from the LEE Initiative, in partnership with HEINZ and Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice (SRRJ). The grants are intended to support Black restaurants and food culture. The Chicago recipients are Cleo’s Southern Kitchen, D’s Dreamie Desserts, Demera, Dozzy’s Grill, Friistyle, Justice of the Pies, Kizin Creole, Chef Quisha Ibraheem, Safari Lounge, Soul Veg City, Virtue, and Serenity’s Place Cafe and Bakery.